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Highlights from The Florida Project Event at Epcot

Steven Miller

by , Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Walt Disney World Resort

Highlights from The Florida Project Event at Epcot

This past weekend we held our annual Disney Trading event at Epcot. Titled “The Florida Project,” the theme was a salute the 40th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort. For three days, guests from around the world spent time making friends and trading pins or Vinylmation figures. We had guests from more than 36 different states and countries like Japan, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia! The event was held inside World ShowPlace pavilion, which was decorated to resemble a Preview Center from the early 1970s. If you were unable to attend this year, here is a brief look at some highlights.

Each year, I’m excited to how the Park Event Operations team will decorate World ShowPlace. Back in August, I gave you a sneak preview of their concepts for the event. I was beyond happy to see the Orange Bird come to life; the standing Orange Bird looked amazing (I wonder if he would fit in my office). The display team also hid several Orange Bird cutouts around the pavilion including one on an actual 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction vehicle.

I spoke with Julie Young, product developer for Disney Pins, about her experience at the event.

“We had a great time with our guests,” exclaimed Julie, who worked in special preview area for upcoming pins throughout the weekend. “I enjoyed having the opportunity to speak directly with fans. For most of the year, we spend our time in a backstage office location. We love seeing the excitement in our guests’ eyes at these events.”

Pins from The Florida Project Event at Epcot

Each year, the pin team hosts a presentation offering a glimpse into future development. This year, the presentation was hosted by Julie and fellow product developer Jeanne Lewis. The image above features only a handful of items shared including a new open edition alphabet series, a pin set coming to Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, in October, a new Pin Trading Night collection coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and a create-your-own pin display kit.

Vinylmation Showcase from The Florida Project Event at Epcot

On Sunday, Vinylmation was in focus with the second annual Vinylmation Showcase. This was a separate ticketed event that featured Vinylmation trading, sneak previews and more. I spoke with Donald Ferro, product developer for Vinylmation, about one of the most exciting things to be announced at the event.

“Since the beginning of August, Vinylmation fans have been asking ‘What is Project Z?’,” explained Donald. “I am thrilled we were finally able to answer that question by revealing a new Vinylmation series that celebrates classic Disney characters from Disney Theme Parks around the world.”

This new mystery series designed by Disney Design Group Artists Thomas Scott and Casey Jones is called “Park Starz” (hence Project “Z”), and it will be released in mid- to late October 2011. Here’s a hint to one of my favorite figures not pictured above – “If we can dream it, we can do it.”

Highlights from The Florida Project Event at Epcot

Lastly, we announced the themes for next year’s trading events at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The details of these events are still being finalized, so please stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog, or


  • Loved the event, First time for me and with coming from the UK I really needed knowing the dates early, They said on the vinylmation Sunday that it would be announced in about a weeks time the dates (to help us Brits and fellow further away travellers to be able to plan bookings) but I haven’t seen a date, Do you have a firmer idea of when we will hear?
    The Pin days went well but the vinyl day was a bit of a let down to start with as various things didn’t work well but it was nice to see how your team took that immediate criticism and tried to remedy it by making the tables have both a mystery box and open box. Overall a very enjoyable event I want to come back to but need to know a date I can book.

  • Is there a reason they chose the Circus theme over the 30th Anniversary of Epcot for next years event? I assume Circus is because of the new expansion at MK, but since the event is held at Epcot, having a theme around the 30th would have been awesome.

    • @John – I spoke with Jeanne Lewis, product developer for event pins, about your question. The idea of a focused event celebrating the 30th Anniverary of Epcot was discussed. But you are correct in your assumption that the theme is related to the expansion taking place at the Magic Kingdom (Epcot just happens to be the host of the event due to the availability of convention space).

      Jeanne also said there will be 30th Anniversary pins for Epcot (probably similar to what was done for the 25th Anniversary). I too can’t wait for the anniversary! Then again, I’m also looking forward to seeing some Dumbo pins at the event next year (which Jeanne said he will be included in the assortment – yay!!).

  • My man Big Al gonna be the star of the project z “park starz” line

    Genius idea with Mickey’s circus for next years event Im planning to attend. Hope there is more product in vinyls compared to just the 5 items offered at the fl project :/

  • Can that Mr. Toad Statue be purchased any other way aside from attending the event?

    • @Robert – Yes, that was one of the submarines from the attraction. It is really only the outside of the sub – there is no base or bottom to it.

      @Adam – The Mr. Toad figure will only be available to guests who register for the “Room For 1 More” event. Sorry.

  • I could not attend this event, but it looks amazing from the pictures. Is that a real 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine? You have to put that on display somewhere, especially with the 40th anniversary just a few weeks from now. How about dock it in front of the Magic Kingdom?

    Happy 40th Anniversary, Walt Disney World!

  • wow, I am really sad I missed this event. I keep seeing pictures from it and it looked amazing! Loved all the Mr Toad and the little Orange Bird love I saw everywhere.

  • I most definitely know about this piece, its really great! Thank you for FINALLY releasing Mr. Toad goods. I look forward to more TOADY & friends merchandise in the future.

  • Why not have this all year? It looks awesome and a good use of a bit of the huge amount of space that isn´t used in Epcot.

    • @Jason – You are correct – it was designed for Annual Passholders at Disneyland Resort. It is currently scheduled for release in March 2012. And please tell me you have seen this?

      This is the event gift that was created for the upcoming “Room For 1 More” event on September 30 in Florida. The figure measures approximately 14″ tall with the base. He’s awesome!

      @Otto – World ShowPlace is used rather frequently throughout the year as a convention facility. There are many events and meetings that are held in the pavilion. It’s a great space as it can easily be transformed into all sorts of themes using lighting and decor. I find it difficult to believe that all of Millennium Village was once located in there. I spent many a day in that pavilion more than 11 years ago – coffee ceremony in Eritrea, the giant eggs for Sweden, the giant Easter Island Moai, etc. Ah, memories.

  • ^^Stephen, yes, they are. Disney has said that they will not reveal what they’ve got planned for the anniversary until that day, so my gut says something big. Not sure what it is just yet.

  • FINALLY!!! A MR. TOAD PRODUCT!!! LONG LIVE MR. TOAD! 😀 Judging by what the packaging says….that Toad key is gonna come here to Cali. which means it must be mine, this would be a great addition to my Mr. Toad ONLY collection. When does this piece come out?

  • Why is there a redline on a speedometer?

    • @Ricky – Yay! Another Horizons and Mr. Toad fan. I have to agree that the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride facade was pretty cool. So glad you liked it.

      @Stephen – From a merchandise perspective, we have two different things taking place in a few weeks:

      The “Room For 1 More” event which is a salute to the 40th Anniversary of The Haunted Mansion (see:

      There will also be a release of 40th Anniversary pins and items on October 1 at The Magic Kingdom in Diamond Horseshoe. Details are being finalized but here is a link to the pins that will be released that day –

      @Jesse – I’m unsure how to answer your question. I spoke with Jeanne Lewis, developer for event product. She explained that the logo was designed using Mickey Mouse’s colors – red, black, white and yellow. The red line on the speedometer points to “55” as that is the year Disneyland Park opened. It’s basically a design element.

  • That looks awesome, but are you guys doing anything at MK for the actual anniversary on October 1st?

  • I’ll take anything and everything Horizons, so I look forward to that Park Starz release. But you didn’t mention the amazing Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride facade and ride vehicles that were on display at the event! THAT was my favorite part. Well done! (If only there had been a real ride magically tucked away behind that glowing fireplace…)

    Ricky B
    Inside the Magic

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